This week we ran into a customer dialog where the conversation concluded, that to succeed with governance and Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM), you need a technology that can integrate to many data sources and many user-input to provide an updated picture of the estate, something that is not done only in PowerPoints, Visios or an operational CMDB-tool.
In this case, the customer had just removed the office of enterprise architects, as he said, “they did piles of Power Points with deep thinking – they never changed anything – so now we hire a new team”. This we see as an interesting statement. It means essentially that enterprise architects (EA) that don’t make an impact, eventually are failing. And to make an impact, you need to transform and produce tangible outcomes near real-time. If you don’t provide impact and change as an enterprise architect, your role is obsolete, and better to leave it for operational people.
In our conversation, the customer after ‘someone’ had done piles of documents difficult to use in a larger context for anyone else; documents which were structured in a PowerPoint container (read SharePoint), poorly connected (meaning not connected at all), and finally relying on distributed versions of excel (read no meta-data) and with little focus on change. The likelihood of people reading such presentations declines for every month it has situated in the PowerPoint container becoming more and more obsolete. It happens a lot of places, and this is where our approach to Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) can help you. Our EAM solutions are based on proven technology and can easily connect to many different data sources such as CMDB’s, Finance, etc. Only with a living approach where data is stored as meta-data, and data is kept fresh via a strong focus on IT Governance – will it be possible to make sustainable change. This is what makes enterprise architects and the EAM practice successful.
What is a living architecture?
At our office, we work with ‘Living Architecture’. Living, because it is not a dead-end of document output. Living, as it still breathes, as opposed to static and dead architectures that once they were built, they never received more updates. With living architecture, we interact with more people, update the data, and enrich properties subject to roles and delegates. This is easily accomplished in modern toolsets we can provide, but also relies on the approach to focus on stakeholders and outcomes, rather than frameworks and static drawings.
Why do we need a living architecture?
Because the pace of change is increasing, and management calls for better ways to get insight into data and relationships, such as which product is the most important one? Which services should we plan to use coming years? Where are the candidates for take-out? Such analysis should not be project deliverables, but be part of an ongoing process where data may be connected and viewed in new ways to support few clicks to better fact-based decision support. By revitalizing the architectural information you can move the data governance to be automated and part of the strategic analytics agenda. It is also important leave-out the CMDB tools in this context. Only by working with semi-structured and strategic information, will it be become possible to plan and prepare roadmaps for future IT operations.
Is the strategic agenda related to architecture?
Many people have different perspectives on what-is-what and what-connects-to-what. The only way to get the larger organisation to view this, in the same way, is to share actively the interpretations and definitions to get consensus on what an enterprise means by this or that. This is not something that is thought up in the architecture office as an ivory-tower exercise. Only by federating data and expressions, you will get to the collaboration of the enterprise to view things in the same way, then to realize that many of the ‘things’ mean different to different stakeholders. A living architecture serves the need to embrace it all, connect it all, and structure the information with updates and relationships to make it relevant for as many people in the business as possible.
Does this mean there is only one truth?
It means that information should be mastered where they are master best! With Next-Insight you gain the overall business logic to master data and information management. And with such a solution, you get a living architecture. Next-Insight eventually becomes the connected truth, helping Enterprise Architecture to connect and structure information. A living architecture is about the perspectives are different – so that different people will see different things – from whatever they find interesting! It’s not about making many large documents with ‘dead’ artifacts. Information management and process management is about managing meta-data – then exporting to documents for compliance reporting, only.
A living architecture is about connecting the many types of data that are continuously changing at different frequencies in an organization and relate to each other. A good architecture description exhibits and collaborates with all stakeholders so that they can all see their perspectives. A living architecture is the vibrant means to succeed in the digital transformation. It provides the living links between the data. It may be useful for projects, but it may also be a subset to carry on after projects are completed.
The living architecture creates insight by building bridges between concepts and the many data in the real world. If you like architecture – and enterprise architecture in particular – then make sure you deliver to people in the business constantly updated views of the estate. This is where we can help you to succeed. Don’t waste your energy on detailed drawings that no managers will understand, but master the living updates of information in the EAM solution. This is how digital transformation is managed.
We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning. If you have questions, please make contact. We are a consulting house with senior profiles and business solutions; we provide deep expertise in digital planning, digital governance, and process automation.